The month of July is, on average, the hottest month of the year in central Ohio and 2019 is falling right into line with the long-term average.
So far this month, we’ve hit at least 90 nine times and we have more 90-degree days on the way.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are all expected to get into the 90s with the hottest air of the year expected in the middle of that stretch. Not only that, but it’s also going to be very muggy.
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Dew points, which measure how much moisture is in the air, are forecast to hit the mid-70s, which means humidity will only make these hot temperatures feel that much worse.
Heat index values on Friday and Saturday have the potential to hit 105 degrees, if not higher. As a result, the National Weather Service has all of central Ohio under an Excessive Heat Watch from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening.
Since the heat index values are projected to be 105 degrees or greater, an Excessive Heat Warning will be in effect Thursday at 2pm to Saturday at 8pm.
One thing that makes this stretch of weather particularly dangerous is the fact that with these high dew points, our nighttime lows won’t drop very low. Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning’s lows are all expected to be in the mid-70s.
When this happens, your body doesn’t have a chance to recover from the previous day’s heat. This means heat stress can keep building overnight. It’s kind of like a slow boil and the risk of heat illness or even death is greater.
That’s why it’s recommended that you find somewhere to cool off. If you don’t have air conditioning, you find somewhere that does. Go to the library, the mall or even a movie. Just doing something in the AC gives your body has a chance to recover from the dangerous heat that’s in the forecast.
The YMCA of Central Ohio will be providing cooling stations from Friday through Sunday. More information can be found here.
The American Red Cross has provided these tips to help deal with the heat wave:
NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN OR PETS IN YOUR VEHICLE. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees. Other heat safety steps include:
- Stay hydrated, drink plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors as they absorb the sun’s rays.
- Slow down, stay indoors. Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
- Postpone outdoor games and activities.
- Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
- If you don’t have air conditioning, go to public spaces for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day.
HEAT EXHAUSTION Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.
If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1.
HEAT STROKE IS LIFE-THREATENING. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.
DON’T FORGET YOUR PETS Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of shade and cool water.
- Animals can suffer heat stroke, a common problem for pets in the warmer weather. Some of the signs of heat stroke in your pet are:
- Heavy panting and unable to calm down, even when lying down.
- Brick red gum color
- Fast pulse rate
- Unable to get up
- If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, take their temperature rectally.
- If the temperature is above 105 degrees, cool the animal down. The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose. Stop cooling the animal when the temperature reaches 103 degrees.
- Bring your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible as heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage.
- Take the Red Cross Cat and Dog First Aid online course.
- This course provides owners, pet-sitters and dog walkers with step-by-step instructions for what to do if a pet is choking, has a wound, needs CPR or other care redcross.org/catdogfirstaid.